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Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom

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Camel biography
The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter Bardens CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard Sinclair.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I had to choose one album from their prolific discography, my choice would be "Moonmadness" but others such as "Snow Goose" or "Mirage" are beloved by those who love good music.

An excellent band for people who l...
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Buy CAMEL Music

Camel- MirageCamel- Mirage
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2002
Audio CD$4.12
$4.35 (used)
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$4.59
$3.74 (used)
Import · Remastered
Audio CD$5.36
$7.51 (used)
The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$4.05
$4.98 (used)
I Can See Your House From HereI Can See Your House From Here
Universal I.S. 1990
Audio CD$4.97
$4.95 (used)
Rain DancesRain Dances
Remastered · Extra tracks
Decca 2009
Audio CD$4.43
$3.34 (used)
Dust & DreamsDust & Dreams
Camel Productions 1992
Audio CD$9.87
$2.07 (used)
The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2009
Audio CD$7.45
$9.67 (used)
Camel: Coming of AgeCamel: Coming of Age
Multiple Formats · Import
Camel Productions 2002
$11.50 (used)
Opening Farewell: Live at CatalystOpening Farewell: Live at Catalyst
Camel Productions 2010
$13.48 (used)
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CAMEL discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 1129 ratings
4.39 | 2303 ratings
4.29 | 2001 ratings
The Snow Goose
4.37 | 1971 ratings
3.59 | 819 ratings
Rain Dances
3.13 | 672 ratings
2.85 | 584 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
3.60 | 652 ratings
2.59 | 418 ratings
The Single Factor
3.39 | 598 ratings
Stationary Traveller
3.67 | 446 ratings
Dust And Dreams
3.75 | 527 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
4.05 | 748 ratings
3.96 | 615 ratings
A Nod And A Wink
4.20 | 481 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.32 | 363 ratings
A Live Record
3.31 | 147 ratings
Pressure Points
3.66 | 105 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
4.46 | 145 ratings
Never Let Go
2.40 | 62 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
3.32 | 57 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
4.28 | 121 ratings
Coming Of Age
3.84 | 61 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
3.57 | 68 ratings
The Paris Collection

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.54 | 40 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
4.54 | 106 ratings
Coming Of Age (DVD)
2.93 | 26 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
3.94 | 42 ratings
3.86 | 32 ratings
Footage II
4.06 | 38 ratings
Total Pressure (DVD)
3.90 | 51 ratings
4.40 | 74 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD)
4.39 | 31 ratings
In From The Cold
4.29 | 12 ratings
Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.59 | 11 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
3.32 | 19 ratings
The Collection
3.74 | 29 ratings
A Compact Compilation
2.49 | 9 ratings
3.46 | 52 ratings
2.11 | 9 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
4.10 | 32 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
4.15 | 33 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.48 | 27 ratings
Never Let Go
4.63 | 8 ratings
The Snow Goose
3.86 | 7 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
4.44 | 25 ratings
Another Night
3.41 | 15 ratings
Highways of the Sun
3.75 | 4 ratings
3.00 | 3 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
4.00 | 2 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
2.00 | 3 ratings
Remote Romance
2.50 | 2 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
5.00 | 1 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
3.33 | 3 ratings
2.67 | 3 ratings
No Easy Answer
3.00 | 3 ratings
3.00 | 4 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
2.60 | 7 ratings
Long Goodbyes
2.50 | 2 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
2.50 | 2 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
4.00 | 4 ratings
4.84 | 19 ratings
Never Let Go

CAMEL Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Nod And A Wink by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.96 | 615 ratings

A Nod And A Wink
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review N 116

'A Nod And A Wink' is the fourteenth studio album of Camel and is also their last original studio album until now. It was released in 2002. It's true they released a new version of 'The Snow Goose' in 2013, but this isn't an original new work. The album was dedicated to Peter Bardens, their former keyboardist and one of the main composers of the group with Andrew Latimer, in their first musical period. Sadly Bardens passed way in January of the same year, in 2002.

The line up on the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, flute, guitars and keyboards), Guy LeBlanc (backing vocals and keyboards), Colin Bass (backing vocals and bass guitar), Denis Clement (drums), Terry Carelton (backing vocals and drums) and J.R. Johston (backing vocals).

'A Nod And A Wink' has seven tracks. The first track 'A Nod And A Wink', is the title track and was written by Latimer, Hoover and LeBlanc. It's an incredible song to open the album and represents one the greatest moments on it. This is also one of the lengthiest songs composed by them. It's a song where the music flows constantly and has also a great musical structure. This is a great epic song that moves beautifully and where the vocals fit very well. The second track 'Simple Pleasures' written by Latimer and Hoover is a very beautiful and melancholic song and represents for me one of the most beautiful moments on the album. It has a great rhythm section very well accompanied by great guitar work. On this album, and particularly on this song, we can feel the similitude of the styles of Latimer and David Gilmour on guitars. However and despite that, I think Latimer has his own style. This is really a very enjoyable and beautiful song. The third track 'A Boy's Life' written by Latimer and Hoover is a song that begins very calm, with acoustic guitar and vocals. It's a song with different musical passages with calm and nice moments and fast and explosive moments. This is also a slow and an acoustic track. The second part of the song is really good and has a fantastic guitar work too. This is the song which is particularly dedicated to Bardens and it has in me strong emotional feelings. The fourth track 'Fox Hill' written by Latimer and Hoover is a happy song very well structured. This is a song with great electric guitar work, fantastic keyboards and good drumming work too. It has even a mini drum solo. It's an enjoyable song, very consistent, that delivers an excellent musical composition. This song reminds me strongly Genesis in Peter Gabriel's era, particularly the lengthy and great epic songs made by them, like 'The Battle Of Epping Forest'. It's probably Latimer's musical composition more close to Genesis' sound. I've no problem with that because, in the first place I love Genesis and in the second place the typical Camel's sound is always present all over the song. The fifth track 'The Miller's Tale' written by Latimer and Hoover is a short and sweet acoustic ballad in the typical Camel's style. The first part of the song begins with acoustic guitar played in Steve Hackett's style and the second part is a typical symphonic song. It's the simplest track on the album and is probably the weakest too. However, it's a very beautiful and a peaceful moment, with good flute and great acoustic strings works. I enjoy it very much. The sixth track 'Squigely Fair' written by Latimer is almost an instrumental song that takes us to the good old times of Camel in the 70's, and that reminds us strongly their third album 'The Snow Goose'. It's a song full of good flute and acoustic works which brings us an enjoyable and beautiful moment of peace and tranquillity. This is one of the highest moments on the album. The seventh and last track 'For Today' written by Latimer and LeBlanc is another song with a guitar sound very close to the floydian style. This is a song very well sung and with great guitar work, with a guitar solo really stunning, and also good drumming. Oh Boy. The final of the song is absolutely incredible and represents for me a real hymn to their music and to the progressive music in general. Here we can feel the emotion of the music at its peak. That is really astonishing. This is, in my humble opinion, a great and a perfect ending not only for this album but probably and sadly for their thirty years of career.

Conclusion: Fifteen years have passed since the release of this album, and due to Latimer's health problems, this was probably their last original studio work too. However, I think they can be proud to leave us a great musical legacy. Camel is one of the few groups that always maintained a certain musical coherence and never forgot their progressive roots. I want to leave my deep admiration and my personal thanks to one of the greatest and most important prog rock bands and to leave also my homage to Bardens. He was one of the finest keyboardists ever and his presence in the first musical period of Camel was one of the keys of their sound. He and Latimer are one of the best prog composers' duos of ever. 'A Nod And A Wink', is a truly masterpiece. It's very well produced and all songs have good arrangements. The quality of the musicians needs no comment. The album has a more melancholy and mellow style than earlier works of Camel, but it fits the process of getting older, not only Latimer, but also his fans from the past, of whom I'm one too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Rajaz by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.05 | 748 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review N 115

'Rajaz' is the thirteenth studio album of Camel and was released in 1999. The album was considered by both, fans and critics, the return of the band to their original form of music, their original roots, the return to the good old days.

'Rajaz' is a kind of poetry that was sung on caravans during the desert crossing to the rhythm of the camel steps to keep the travellers awake. In contrast to their two predecessors albums, 'Dust And Dreams' and 'Harbour Of Tears', 'Rajaz' isn't a conceptual album. Except in the title track, the theme is only taken up in two other songs, 'Sahara' and 'Lawrence'. Correspondingly, the songs here are more separated, instead of flowing into one another, as happen with the conceptual albums. Musically, 'Rajaz' is nevertheless coherent. The songs aren't really overly complex, and instead, the emphasis is placed on the atmosphere. This was particularly successful on the title track, which in its slow and uniform rhythm, allows the loneliness and strains of the travellers in the desert to be comprehended. Contrary to the earlier Camel's albums, the songs are dominating on 'Rajaz', because only two tracks are instrumental pieces.

The line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, flute, guitars, keyboards and percussion), Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards), Colin Bass (bass guitar), Dave Stewart (drums and percussion) and Barry Phillips (cello).

'Rajaz' has eight tracks. All tracks were written by Latimer except 'Three Wishes', 'Lost And Found' and 'Lawrence' which were written by Latimer and Susan Hoover. The first track 'Three Wishes' is an instrumental piece, very solid, very intriguing and exotic, which make of it a brilliant opener for the album. The song is very good and the instrumental tune changes for several times all over the song. It's very well performed and has one of the most beautiful guitar works made by Latimer. The second track 'Lost And Found' is another great song. It's a song with a good rhythm and with great combination between guitar and bass which makes an effect on the song pretty good. The song is full of great guitar work and it has also a fantastic keyboard work. This song has good vocal work too. The voice of Latimer is soft and with low timbre. It seems a new Latimer singing. The third track 'The Final Encore' is another captivating piece. It's another song very well sung and it has clearly the influence of the oriental music, making of it a song with an exotic sound. It reminds me the historical time of the Ancient Egypt. It has also interesting organ and guitar works. The fourth track is the title track 'Rajaz'. This is another great song of the album, very temperamental and full of feelings, what gives to this album a certain extravagant ambience and a unique character. It's a very calm song with a very beautiful beginning performed by Latimer's acoustic guitar and Phillips' cello. Latimer's voice is really good, nice, and dreamy and is very relaxing, too. The fifth track 'Shout' is a nice ballad, once more very well sung. It's a song quite different from the other songs on the album. The song is pretty good but it hasn't anything special or fantastic to listen on it. It's perhaps the weaker point on the album, and I may say, the only one. The sixth track 'Straight To My Heart' is a song with a bluesy tune with a slow slide guitar in the style of David Gilmour, which isn't so surprising because Latimer is often compared with him. This is another song with a nice and calm starting, with great singing and beautiful acoustic guitar work. The performance of all musicians is very competent and the song has also a beautiful instrumental ending. The seventh track 'Sahara' is another instrumental piece and represents one of the highest moments on the album and is also the best instrumental track on it. It has wonderful guitar work with some great Arabic musical tones, what can be considered a tribute to the band's own name. This is another song that reaches completely the very special and exotic atmosphere of the all album, like 'Rajaz' and 'Lost And Found' do as well. The eighth track 'Lawrence' is a great ending to the album. This is a song with great and beautiful musical moments and nice guitar solos. Once more we have a song very close to the style of Gilmour with great feeling and good instrumental work. I really enjoy this song.

Conclusion: 'Rajaz' is a very special album for Camel and for Latimer. Twenty three years have passed since Camel released their last great masterpiece, their fourth studio album 'Moonmadness'. So, this can be considered a historic achievement, because it's unusual a band from the 70's release a masterpiece so many years later. 'Rajaz' is a great album, very melancholic and that sounds with influences of the eastern music. It has great musical parts, especially the instrumental parts, and it has unexpected vocal parts too. We may say that Camel pays homage to their natural environment, the deserts and camels. This is perhaps their musical work in which the guitar of Latimer is more close to the sound of the guitar of Gilmour. 'Rajaz' is one of the best Camel's albums and is absolutely an essential piece. The sound is quite different from the 70's, but this is progressivity, and Camel is one of the few 70's progressive bands that still progresses in these days. Buy it, because this is pure Camel's music on its highest peak. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016 by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.29 | 12 ratings

Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This new DVD was the opportunity for me to rediscover a band that I have always put behind some symphonic bands like Genesis and Yes. The reason was probably because of their quiet approach to the style with the melodies developed slowly in a dreamy, peaceful and melancholic atmosphere. The band can put you to somewhere in the world in the ancient times, especially with the flute passages. The music is essentially based around the guitar playing of Latimer and some brilliant keyboards intrusions of Peter Jones who lost his sight but never his sense of compositions and solid playing. The DVD is fun to watch not only for the great songs but for the light show and the camera angles who capture many distant shots of the full stage. I have not seen the latest DVD of Camel since "Coming of Age", but I would be surprised that those are a lot better than this one. This is another winner for a great band.
 Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016 by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.29 | 12 ratings

Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars "Treasure every encounter for it will never recur"

I pre-ordered Camel's new DVD Ichigo Ichie directly from the band's own record company Camel Productions and got it very nicely signed by Andy Latimer. The DVD contains a strong live performance by the band filmed in Tokyo, Japan in 2016. Looking at the cover picture, you will see two figures. The one in the foreground I suppose is Latimer and the one on the background must be Colin Bass. This is the duo that have kept Camel going for many years now. Also drummer Denis Clement remains from previous line-ups, but once again we have a new face in the keyboard department in Peter Jones. Surprisingly, Jones also takes lead vocals for a couple of songs including opener Never Let Go.

If you enjoyed Camel's previous two DVD releases, you will undoubtedly enjoy this one too as it is comparable in quality with 2014's In From The Cold and 2010's The Opening Farewell. The set list overlaps significantly with these earlier releases, with the majority of the songs performed having also appeared on one or the other of the aforementioned live DVDs. There are however also a couple of surprises, my personal favourite of which is The White Rider. This wonderful song, originally from the Mirage album, hasn't been included on many live recordings before.

The first ten songs in the set are all from the band's first five albums, released between 1973 and 1977. The following handful of songs are from the late 70's to the early 90's. Interestingly, the newest songs are from 1991's Dust And Dreams album which means that there is nothing at all included from the band's three most recent studio discs (not counting the re-recorded version of The Snow Goose). Personally I would have loved to see more "rare" songs both newer and older that haven't been included on other recent live releases, but you can't have everything can you.

Another excellent Camel DVD!

 Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016 by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.29 | 12 ratings

Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by fenman

5 stars I was suprised when I learnt a few weeks ago that an new Camel DVD, recorded last year in Japan, was imminent. I have a lot of live Camel in my collection and, having enjoyed the band in concert in Birmingham a couple of years ago, decided to place an advance order through the band's website.

My copy duly arrived (signed by Andy Latimer) a couple of days ago. I thought it would be good - it is in fact tremendous! Given how ill Latimer was a few years ago his work here is all the more remarkable. His skills and those of the rest of the band are undiminished.

An appealing setlist with decent visuals and excellent LPCM sound (CD quality, when many music DVDs are actually mp3) make this two hours of music I will be sitting though many times.

Another pleasant surprise to me was to see Peter Jones (of Tiger Moth tales) give a very convincing performance on keyboards/vocals.

I would only very rarely give a concert DVD five stars, but, on this occasion I feel it is deserved. A triumph on every level and a great start to the prog year.

 Moondances by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2007
3.90 | 51 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Unevensong

Moondances features footage from two separate live concerts, one from 1976 and one from 1977. As such it captures Camel in two different stages of the band's evolution - first right before and then right after the major transition that took place between the Moonmadness and Rain Dances albums (the albums to which the DVD title "Moondances" alludes). The change was both in musical terms and in terms of personell.

The earlier footage is from a concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on April 14th 1976 and features the original line-up of Andy Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Fergusen, and Andy Ward. While the music is fantastic and the footage interesting, it is far from complete. Only six songs are included and we are missing out on about half the show. The whole set included Song Within a Song, The Great Marsh/Rhayader/Rhayader Goes to Town, Air Born, Chord Change, The White Rider, Lunar Sea, Preparation/Dunkirk, Another Night, and Lady Fantasy, while the programme featured here begins from The White Rider. Perhaps the previous songs were not filmed, but the whole show has been released in audio format as bonus tracks on the 2009 2CD "Deluxe" edition of Moonmadness. (The 2002 remastered CD that I own has only Song Within a Song, Lunar Sea, and Preparation/Dunkirk from the same show).

The other concert was filmed at the Hippodrome, Golders Green, London, on September 22nd 1977 and features the line-up including Richard Sinclair and Mel Collins in addition to Latimer, Bardens, and Ward. With Sinclair taking lead vocals and Collins adding sax, the sound of the band was very different during this time and altogether more jazzy. Most of the Rain Dances material is good, but I dislike how this line-up treated earlier material. The worst example is what they did to Never Let Go which sounds all wrong here. Not the right direction for Camel. This is fun to see, but it does not compare favourably with the classic Camel of the original line-up. At least this programme is complete.

The DVD also holds two bonus audio-only tracks from 1973 and 1974 respectively called Autumn and Riverman. These were previously unreleased and are not available elsewhere. The reason that they are here is not clear, but it is nice to have these rare tracks.

Overall, this is a good DVD, and probably the best source if you wish to see 1970's Camel in performance. However, for me the visual aspect is only interesting once or twice for historical reasons while the audio has timeless appeal. In the case of the 1976 recordings these are, as mentioned above, available in more complete form elsewhere. In terms of DVDs, I think that the more recently filmed Camel shows presented on Coming Of Age, The Opening Farewell, and In From the Cold are all much better than the present one.

 Long Goodbyes by CAMEL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.60 | 7 ratings

Long Goodbyes
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Waltzing Frauleins

Taken from Stationary Traveller, Long Goodbyes was released as single in 1984 with a non-album b-side called Waltzing Frauleins (or sometimes "In the Arms of Waltzing Frauleins"). The latter is rather uncharacteristic for Camel and it is wholly understandable that it was not included on the album. It is best seen as a curiosity that is of interest to fans and collectors. It has since been added as a bonus track on some CD re-issues of Stationary Traveller and also on the compilation Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985.

Long Goodbyes itself is not one of my favourites from the Stationary Traveller album. While the intro and the verses are quite appealing, the overly sing-a-long-friendly chorus is not to my liking. Though, I suppose that it was a natural choice for a single.

 Cloak And Dagger Man by CAMEL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.00 | 4 ratings

Cloak And Dagger Man
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Added pressure

Cloak And Dagger Man is a song taken from Camel's 1984 album Stationary Traveller. It was released as a single in the same year to promote said album and the present review is about the 12" version of that single having as its b-side an extended version of Pressure Points.

While Cloak And Dagger Man is a good song, it is clearly with the b-side that the real interest lies with this single. Calling it an "extended" version is a bit misleading since, as far as I understand, this longer version is actually the original one, and the shorter version that appears on the album is an edit of the same. The edited album version ran to only just over two minutes while the present version is over six minutes in length. The longer version is the better one and I presume that it was cut for the album for reasons of space.

The extended version has since been included as a bonus track on some CD re-issues of the Stationary Traveller album.

 Nude by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.60 | 652 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review N 99

"Nude" is the eighth studio album of Camel and was released in 1981. Camel returned to conceptual albums with this new studio work. This was the first album of Camel to feature all the lyrics by the future Andrew Latimer's wife, Susan Hoover, except "Please Come Home", which has lyrics by Latimer. "Nude" was also the last Camel's album featuring the original drummer Andy Ward. In the mid of 1981 he stopped playing drums due to abuse of alcohol and drugs. Years later it emerged that Ward had attempted suicide. So, from "Nude", Latimer remained the only founding member of the group in activity as band's member. It was also the last album with this line up, and so, their next ninth studio album "The Single Factor" released in 1982 has a completely new line up where Latimer is the sole remaining member of the group. In a certain way, we can consider "The Single Factor" a solo Latimer's musical work. Perhaps the name isn't a coincidence. Curiously, it has the presence of their original keyboardist Peter Bardens, as a guest musician.

The line up on "Nude" is Andrew Latimer (lead vocals, guitars, flute, koto and various keyboards), Andy Ward (drums and percussion), Colin Bass (lead and backing vocals and bass), Mel Collins (flue, piccolo and saxophones), Duncan MacKay (keyboards), Kit Watkins (keyboards), Jan Schelhaas (piano), Chris Green (cello), Gasper Lawal (percussions) and Herbie Flowers (tuba). In fact, "Nude" has the participation of three keyboardists Duncan MacKay, Jan Schelhaas and Kit Watkins. However, Duncan MacKay provided most of the keyboards on the studio because Kit Watkins and Jan Schelhaas were involved in other musical projects, at time. However, they returned for the live tour of the album.

"Nude" is a more ambitious album than the preceding three studio albums, their fifth, sixth and seventh studio albums "Rain Dances", "Breathless" and "I Can See Your House From Here" released in 1977, 1978 and 1979, respectively. These albums aren't conceptual albums but only made by a group of songs. So, in a certain way "Nude" is a return to the concept of their third studio album "The Snow Goose". The concept of the album is based on a surrealist story, but true, about a Japanese soldier, Lt. Hiroo Onoda, stranded on a desert island since the World War II. "Nude" tell us the story of a Japanese soldier who is separated on a Pacific island of his unit during WW2, who survived alone during 29 years, on the Philippines island of Lubang until 1974, not knowing that the war had ended. However, finally he was persuaded that the war had over, after his former Japanese commanding officer fly over the island and talk with him, persuading him to surrender. After that, he has been received in his home as a hero. However, he no longer manages to get along in the daily life and thus he finally disappeared by boat, returning to his island, the place he knew so well.

Mostly instrumental, this is very much a Latimer's album, as he composed all of the music with the exception of "Docks" and "Captured" which were co-written by Kit Watkins and Schelhaas, respectively. The album opens with the generic "City Life" but the album never lets down. "Drafted" is stuffed with great melodies and guitar themes of classic Camel kind, and proved beyond any doubt that the band was back at their best. Then you're in for a series of lengthy and complex instrumental passages, about 70% of the album is instrumental, which perfectly captures the drama and atmosphere of the all conceptual story. It reminds me "The Snow Goose", the only other Camel's album that can rival with "Nude" when it comes to sweeping, symphonic and atmospheric soundscapes. There's lots of flute on the quiet parts, and there are even some ethnic rhythms on "Changing Places", to illustrate the jungle. "Reflection" represents Latimer at his most magic, and will make you think again of the most beautiful and relaxed parts from "The Snow Goose". "Lies" is a strong vocal track that somewhat resembles Pink Floyd, and Mackay delivered an organ solo to prove that he could understand what the kind of keyboards that a progressive rock band should use, even in the 80's.

Conclusion: "Nude" is an album that describes perfectly well the life of the Japanese soldier Onoda, before the war, his life in the army, his loss, his life in the island and how he was found, his feelings about his return to his country and finally, despite being very well received, his lack of adaptation after the war and his decision to return to the island where he spent so many years of his life. This incredible episode makes me think how our lives can be radically changed by a strange event and that we are animals of habits with difficult adaptation to new situations. In my humble opinion, "Nude" is somehow an underrated Camel's album. It's true that it isn't as spacey as their earlier albums. However, I think it's quite atmospheric and that it was able of creating its own musical ambient. "Nude" represents the return of the band to Camel's classic albums. It represents also one of the best progressive albums of the 80's in a very troubled musical period for the progressive rock music. For me, Camel passed thru the 80's with some elegance.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2303 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The first time I listened to MIRAGE and its first track, FREEFALL, I felt something. FREEFALL, so far, represented to me the stereotypical image of the attempts of a part of early 70's in the hard rock: trying to root out the psychedelic influences into a more heavy sonority but still maintain some unwanted characteristics. While an interesting album, I couldn't understand the praise it received as a progressive representant. Until the second section of the song came along, and I observed that even though it still sounded like a bland early hard rock track, it had a powerful influence from jazz. That's where, eventually, my view for MIRAGE changed.

The early progressive genre, in my perspective, is three-faced. While this definition certainly wouldn't apply for the modern progressive, it does fit neatly on the early one. About those three faces: the first involves experimentality, mixing, innovativeness; an escape from uniform, dull or just unoriginal rock. The second is about higher structural and sonorous complexity; and the third (mildly linked to both earlier faces), a different view of rock; trying to undermine the influence of folk and embrace another important genre: jazz.

MIRAGE represents the third face perfectly. It sounds like a rock record, but it uses as a base jazz rather than folk. Yet the symbiosis between the rock and the jazz is so profound and homogeneous it doesn't sound as either. You can't label this as a merely "classic/hard rock" or "jazz fusion" because neither of both parts stands out. They're perfectly fit together.

When I put into perspective the absolute mastery CAMEL had to demonstrate one of the three faces of the progressive genre, I can't call this anything BUT a masterpiece worth the flawless rating. If you're simply a person who likes to listen to prog, then you should listen to this album and expect a good experience. But if you're a person who values prog a little more than just a music genre, MIRAGE is a must. It is literally a gem.


Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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